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Where do you go for offshoring help? These days, it’s a whole wide world.

Thu, Dec 11, 2008

Offshoring

Every year, AT Kearney, a world-renowned management consulting firm, puts out what it calls a “Global Services Location Index.”The Index analyzes the top 40 services locations (i.e., countries) worldwide against 40 measurements in three major categories: cost, people skills and availability, and business environment. (by the way, I find these types of studies fascinating, and I plan on returning to this particular Index as a source for future postings, so stay tuned!)

The headline from the 2005 Index is that India is still far out in front of its offshoring competitors, which is truthfully not too surprising to anyone reading this blog, I would think. China is second in the rankings (again, no big surprise there), but still has quite a way to go to overtaking India as the #1 country of choice for global offshoring needs.

But what I found truly eye-opening about the 2005 AT Kearney Index is the amazing breadth and sheer geographical variety represented by all the countries listed that can now be considered legitimate destinations to companies of all sizes in search of relatively low-cost, highly-skilled help outside their own borders.

In Asia, for example,The Philippines and Thailand are the new rising offshoring stars. This is in large part due to strong English language skills in the former, and hard-to-beat low costs in the latter.

In Europe, the offshoring spotlight is currently shining brightest in the East, with countries like Bulgaria, Slovakia and Romania eager to get the word out that they are now viable, low-cost, high-skill destinations for companies who may have previously been frightened off by the rising costs of their Western European neighbors.

And, perhaps most surprising of all to those of us in the U.S., the Middle East and even Africa are well represented in the 2005 Global Services Location Index. It turns out that countries like Egypt, Ghana and Tunisia are not going to decline their pieces of the global offshoring to India and China anytime soon, just because they haven’t been seen up to now by some of us slightly clueless observers as viable contenders in this ever-growing industry.

So, what all this intriguing ranking data tells me – and everyone else who should be paying attention – is that when we discuss legitimate and strategic offshoring destinations for big, medium and small companies in 2006, we need to start talking about MANY other ‘shores’ beyond those that belong to the “big boys” – India and China.

Folks: the word is out – offshoring is a big, sweet juicy pie of which nearly every country on this planet desires a healthy piece. And, as this wonderfully enlightening Index clearly indicates, nobody is walking away from the “dessert table” anytime soon!

Of course, all this is a very good thing for businesses in the U.S. and elsewhere that are in need of some offshoring help. More countries offering quality offshoring services means more options and more negotiationg leverage for these companies. It’s a “win-win,” as that horrible old cliche goes.

And, finally, I have a sneaky feeling that next year, the AT Kearney 2006 Global Services Location Index will tell us a new, dramatically different tale about who the latest “hungry eaters” are out there in this whole, wide world.

Maybe it’s not such a “sneaky” feeling, come to think of it!

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